Description: Annuals or perennials.
Inflorescence a spatheate panicle of spike-like racemes.
Spikelets paired, lower pairs alike in sex and shape and either male or sterile, upper pairs dissimilar, 1 sessile, fertile and awned, the other pedicellate, male or sterile and awnless, pedicellate spikelet of the heterogamous pairs falling with its pedicel, the sessile with the adjacent joint. Florets 2, the lower sterile, the upper female or bisexual in the sessile spikelets of the heterogamous pairs, male or sterile in all the other spikelets. Fertile spikelet awned, its callus long, pungent, bearded. Lower glume with obscure nerves; upper 3-nerved. Lower lemma nerveless; upper lemma stipe-like, passing into a geniculate awn. Palea minute or absent. Male (or sterile) spikelets dorsally flattened. Lower glume many-nerved, winged upwards from 1 or both keels; upper glume 3-nerved. Lemmas hyaline, 1-nerved, or variously reduced.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 6 species, trop & subtropical regions. Australia: 2 species (native), Qld, N.S.W., N.T., W.A.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & C. A. Wall